Today Plantlife International – The Wild Plant Conservation charity launch new road verge guidelines which provide a roadmap to fundamentally transform the management of the UK’s verges. This best practice guide is for all those engaged in verge management and creation and is the result of our collaboration with national highways agencies, industry contractors and other wildlife organisations.
Over 700 species and nearly 45% of our total flora are found on our road verges, and considering we’ve lost 97% of our wild flower meadows since the 1930s, these crucial habitats need to be properly managed. This year we’ve really started to see an increase in awareness of the importance and potential of road verge habitats – thank you for the work the South Hams Society is doing to convince your councillors that making changes to the way verges are managed is crucial for saving wild flowers and the wealth of wildlife they support.
Road verges really matter. They are home to over 700 species of wild flower – nearly 45% of our UK total flora – including 29 species of wild orchid. As other wild space disappears – 97% of meadows have vanished since the 1930s – they become even more important. And where wildflowers lead, nature follows. Red clover and lady’s bedstraw – two particularly wildlife-friendly plants – are experiencing the most rapid declines. Bees, butterflies, birds, bats and bugs depend on our verges, as the wider countryside becomes increasingly hostile. This is why here at Plantlife we are campaigning to get road verges managed better for nature and we’d love your support.
By signing our Road Verge Petition you will be helping make our voice even louder as we work to persuade decision makers, in Councils and highways agencies, to improve the way look after our road verges. We calculated that, if verges were looked after properly, there could be 418 billion flowers across the country. Isn’t that astonishing? It would be like creating over a quarter of a million acres of meadow.